Promoting Your Business with ‘Pokémon Go’

Promoting your business with Pokemon Go

Written by: Patrick Horan

‘Pokémon Go’ has literally taken the world by storm. Everywhere you turn, people are on their smartphones, frantically looking for Pokémon and as with any craze, there come opportunities for business and marketing.

So what is ‘Pokémon Go’?

Basically, it is an updated version of the famous Nintendo game at the turn of the millennium, where people played on a Gameboy to collect little computerised creatures called Pokémon (short for “Pocket Monsters”), and would collect points as they progressed, with bonuses for rare Pokémon.

The current version involves physically visiting locations and “capturing” these Pokémon and adding them to your database in a file on your phone. The game links into your phone’s GPS and different environments provide the opportunity to capture different breeds of Pokémon.

What fans have discovered is that certain locations are “hot zones” for certain rarer Pokémon. There are also locations called “hotspots” where players can pick up valuable gifts and Pokémon eggs to help capture more Pokemon. This has great potential for businesses to cash in on this opportunity, but they will need to act fast, as this, like all other trends, will eventually be replaced by something else.

Inevitably, the “Game makers” will try and harness the popularity of the game to create an added revenue stream. While the creators have been very quiet on the subject, one would imagine they may eventually charge businesses to become hotspots or host rare Pokémon but we have to see. In the meantime, there are opportunities for the resourceful business!

So how can you use ‘Pokémon Go’ to your advantage?

Offer ‘Pokémon Go’ Players a free phone recharging service. Hunting for Pokémon uses a lot of phone power and this will entice players into your shop. This is especially effective for catering and coffee shops, as it allows Pokémon players to stop for refreshments and refuel themselves before heading on to the next Pokéstop. You could also extend this service to free WIFI access while they are in your establishment, so they can celebrate their captures on social media with ease.

Host a ‘Pokémon Go’ Event

Are phone users lingering outside / near your business? It is possible that your location is a Pokéspot, which basically means that players can “collect” more Pokéballs and eggs at these locations, which in turn allows them to capture more Pokémon. If so, consider running a ‘Pokémon Go’ event at your business location, which could be a huge money generator and attract new customers, who will (hopefully) continue to frequent your business afterwards.

One local business that very successfully embraced the craze was Abbey Hill Golf Course in Milton Keynes who organised a ‘Pokémon Go’ Party and BBQ on the 31st of July, generating huge interest and resulting in demand overtaking supply in the hundreds. However, due to the huge success of this event, they are considering running another ‘Pokémon Go’ party / BBQ in the near future, so watch this space!

Refill and reward ‘Pokémon Go’ players

Why not offer a coffee refill or discount to customers who have captured some of the rarer Pokémon? This marketing strategy is used all the time for customers presenting tickets for sports events, etc., in nearby cafes and restaurants. All they have to do is show the Pokémon on their phone and they get their reward.

If you’re not tech-savvy, chances are that your staff will be and you probably have some ‘Pokémon Go’ fans among them. Ask your employees for assistance with one of the above tasks and chances are, they will be only too happy to help out and to instruct you in the ways of ‘Pokémon Go’.

What to do next?

These suggestions are simple and cost-effective ways to cash in on the ‘Pokémon Go’ craze, but the important thing is to act now, while the trends are still strong. While not all businesses will benefit from ‘Pokémon Go’, they are well worth a try,  once applied effectively and with some forward planning. Who knows, you might even get the ‘Pokémon Go’ Buzz yourself, while generating some extra revenue. So what are you waiting for?